Sunday, October 16, 2011

G-Shock #42: LONDON

Just a short one today. I planned another article, but I have not received the photo's for that article yet. This is the DW-620 London. It's a remarkable G-Shock from the DW-500 and DW-600 range. It's a G-Shock with Baby-G DNA.
I'm small, but tough too!
The DW-500 and DW-600 series models can be seen as the forefathers of the Baby-G models. It already started with the release of the DW-500C-1 in March 1988. For the Japanese market, the DW-5600C was relatively a large watch. For people with small wrists, Casio developed a smaller version of the DW-5600C, which became the DW-500C. It had similar functions as the DW-5600, but no light. Therefore it had only three buttons.Since the DW-500C was smaller than a regular G-Shock, it was nicknamed "Baby-G". The water resistance is 100 meter, instead of the standard 200m
This DW-500C model became very popular when a yellow version was released in August 1993. This classic yellow model was very sought after in the Japanese collectors world. In December 1994 Casio released 9 variants on the DW-500C model, the DW-520. These models have all  a protection bar. That same month Casio releases a load of DW-600 variants (DW-600, DW-610, DW-620, DW-630, DW-640 and DW-650). All these model have in common that the water resistance is "only" 100 meter and that they are relative small. Also all models, except this DW-620 models, had the metal display protection bars.
While the DW-500 and DW-520 variants were only available in Japan, a lot of DW-600 variants were sold world wide. The DW-640 series were even quite popular in Germany I think, as I could still find them a lot on eBay about 10 years ago and occasionally you still can find them second hand for a friendly price.
The DW-600 series were produced for only a short period. In May 1995 all these variants were re-released under the new Baby-G sub-brand. The DW-620 models were now released as BG-120L models. The text SHOCK RESIST was replaced by LONDON.
I never found why the DW-620 and BG-120L were called London. The Japanese text I found in "Green Arrow Graffiti" Vol. 4 (one of my favorite G-Shock resource mooks) did not clear this mystery up. Seiya Kobayashi-san (an excellent recourse for Japan Domestic watches) helped me translated the product description from 1994:
"Rounded case design. The display shows an animated dancer. London edition. EL back light, Alarm function & Chronograph function, this watch has all necessary functions. 100m Water Resistance." (a big thank you to Seiya-san!).
Indeed, the DW-620 has a rounded case design, but actually all DW-600 variations has a round case. The DW-500 model variations compared to the DW-600 variations are like the 5600 variations compared to 6900 variations. 
Compared with the later Baby-G models, this model looks a little different, as the case is rounded rectangular, while most Baby-G models are either round or square shaped.  The most striking part of this watch are the three colored eyes. These eyes (color marks) are only to be used with the Countdown Timer function. From left to right it shows "Finish", "5 Min" and "Start". Also the EL Backlight is used to in the Countdown Timer function. When the timer is started (when programmed longer than 5 minutes), only the green mark (Start) is visible. Also a beep sounds and the EL lights up for a second. When the 5 minute mark is reached, the yellow mark is visible, the EL lights up for a second and a beep sounds. When the target time is reached the red mark becomes visible, the alarms sounds for 10 seconds and the EL backlight lights up for 2 seconds. When the alarm sounds stops, all three color marks become visible. The capacity of the Countdown alarm is only 60 minutes, but hey, this watch is almost 18 years old!
The DW-620 also has a 24 hour Stopwatch and an alarm function on board. It uses the 1419 module, which is still viewable in Casio's Manual Archive. The manual reveals that it works similar to the 1416 module. The 1416 module was a common module on 90's Baby-G models.
Above: DW-620 on a 5.5" wrist
DW-620 on a 7.2" wrist.
Another striking part of the display is the Animation area. In normal timekeeping mode a giant G rotates around it's vertical axis. When in other modes it shows the mode it's in when not used and when used in Coutdown Timer and Stopwatch mode, it shows a "Time Elapse animation".
When the light is used or when a Countdown Timer has reached the target time it shows a dancing figure. Specially the dancing figure will be a known feature among Baby-G owners. Well, it seems it was first on a G-Shock first, but on a G-Shock with Baby-G DNA. 
I do not know if the DW-620 was a very popular model. I stumbled upon this watch by accident in Spain in June 2006. It was sold on my friend Adan's website/webshop G-Stock. I do not know exactly what I have paid for it, but it was probably a friend's price as I also bought another G-Shock (maybe €100.- for two). I also have no clue what it's worth, as I never saw a collector looking for this model. Clearly the DW-640 and DW-650 models were sold in much bigger numbers. If you might find one in like new condition now you can expect a price varying in a big range, from €30.- to maybe €75.-.

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